Monday, October 31, 2011

WHat October 29th-31st Mean To Me: Parking Tickets

No, I did not get one.  I was actually barely out all weekend due to a bad cold (seriously, after wishing for one during my Halloween post, it actually happened!  And this was hardly a "be careful what you wish for" kind of situation, I was not displeased).

But I did, however, witness a couple returning to their car only to find out that they had one.  I always find these situations humorous because their stupified reactions are always photo worthy.  The situation generally plays out as follows:

Couple returns to their car with the following facial reactions:

A parking ticket?  How could this be?  It's as if aliens landing on their front yard would be less surprising. 

Then they look to each other in complete befuddlement because, really, how on Earth could someone have given them a parking ticket?  Then, one of them (or both) studies the parking instructions sign and, of course, reads it aloud as if that should bring some sort of clarity.  And slowly I might add.  As if its a complex math equation.

Man:  No... Parking.... from... 6pm... to... 6am
Woman: No... Parking.... from... 6pm... to... 6am
Man:  What time is it?
Woman:  It's 6:30
Man: Well, Cripes.  Is that what it said two hours ago?
Woman: Well I'll be.
Man:  It's only been a half an hour!  They cut could us some slack.
Woman: (as if trying to decipher a secret code): No... Parking.... from... 6pm... to... 6am
Man: I guess we should just get it over with and kill ourselves. 

I suppose I find a person's entitlement humorous when it comes to traffic tickets or parking tickets.  Everyone always thinks they should be the exception, and that the world is out to get them because they were too lazy to read the instructions.  I just wonder what it says about us when our visceral reaction to such things is "I can't be wrong!  You're wrong!  And even if I am wrong, you should give me a pass this time...just because!"

It was a boring weekend, what can I say.  This was the one observation I had.  I could talk about the Broncos sucking, but then I'd just cry, and I really don't feel like it. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

What October 28th Means To Me: Beavis and Butthead and Getting Older

YESSSS YESSSSSSS!  Krokus rocks!
Nostalgia can be a wicked motivator.  That was the prevailing thought I had while watching the Beavis and Butthead reboot aired last night on MTV.  From the ages of 14-17, I fucking loved Beavis and Butthead.  I had seen all the episodes multiple times, in fact, my brother and I had every single one recorded on a few VHS tapes.  Beavis and Butthead was a unique show that captured something incredibly simple:  simplicity.  At the time of it's original release, the world was on the brink of complete complication.  The internet was taking hold of society, propelling it into a deep abyss of possibility and information that no one had the capacity to navigate.  We were suddenly on the precipice of this world that would not look anything like the one we had become accustomed to.  Generally when these sorts of things occur, generations take hold of cultural symbols to preserve identity.   One of ours was a show about two sexually stimulated slackers who loved to laugh and and break things. 

Beavis and Butthead, for me, aired right as my teenage years began and it, for many reasons, was the ultimate rebellion (not just for me, but for my generation and definitely the one directly above us.)  It was counter culture, it was something our parents didn't understand, and it could be inflammatory (literally...if you recall that case in Ohio (I think Ohio) where some mother blamed Beavis's pyromaniac tendencies for inspiring her son to burn down their trailer).  Here was this show that featured two slacker, unintelligent kids saying and doing a bunch of stupid shit.  It was simple.  It was hilarious.  It was awesome.  Older generations constantly look to younger ones to be "better" than they were, and it's not that our generation refused to learn or accept complexity, but our embracement of Beavis and Butthead was an ironic statement that showed that we can also appreciate the incredibly simple as well. 

Now, 15 or so years later, the show is back, Beavis and Butthead haven't aged a day, but the rest of us have.  To Mike Judge's credit, the spirit of the show hasn't really changed much.  And despite the homage of Beavis's "fire! fire! fire!" chants during videos (and the fact that they sometimes comment on MTV shows instead of music videos), the show feels relatively the same as it did in the 1990's.  But, unfortunately for the show, I believe those past 15 years are insurmountable for a few reasons.

Though getting older obviously involves body change and both emotional and mental maturity, it also features the accumulation of memory and the canonization of "good memories."  When we experience events or emotions in the present, we are hyper aware of every detail that comes along with them.  If we engage in something entertaining, we also are aware of the moments of boredom or negativity that fill in the cracks and gaps.  Obviously, our experiences in the present don't exist in a vacuum, so external forces that have zero to do with said experience affect the way we view or enjoy a piece of entertainment at the time of consumption.  But as years pass and much of the memory is lost, we start associating these experiences with the time periods in which they occurred, and view them through a much different prism that doesn't take into account every detail of the experience. Being a teenager is never fun for anyone when you're going through it.  Its the first time we are really confronted with social pressure and all the insecurities born from it.  Some of us deal with it better than others, but for the most part, its a time of transition.  But when I look back on it, it is obviously from a safe place because my teenage years and memories are etched in stone. I can't remember all the worry and insecurity, I just remember the things I enjoyed, even if they weren't so enjoyable at the time.  I have vivid memories of watching Beavis and Butthead at two in the morning on random weekends after a night out.  At the time, I'm sure I wasn't excited to watch them, I was probably bored out of my mind, couldn't sleep, and was more than likely worrying about something else.  But when I conjure the memory, I don't remember the negative, and I think it'd be fun to transport myself back in time so I could experience it again. It all seems so simple and innocent now.  That's nostalgia for you. 

And that's why watching the new Beavis and Butthead isn't and will never be a transcendent experience.  The episodes could be similar, hell, they could even be better, but no matter what they do, they will always be missing the essence of nostalgia that will push my generation to turn on the new episodes in the first place.  My best guess is that most people my age who watched it smiled a few times, shrugged their shoulders, and spent most of the broadcast remembering what it was like to be younger.  Because that's what aging does, it makes us hyperaware of our past and our future.  And the older we get, the more we compartmentalize thoughts of both.  So when a piece of entertainment comes out that is meant to stimulate a memory, the thought of the memory severely outweighs the value of the present entertainment.  And, unfortunately for the show creators, our interest in the updated product is short lived because we'd rather have it as a memory than as something new.  Who wants to ruin their past, after all?

So, while I suppose I enjoyed the Beavis and Butthead reboot, and was glad to see that they were still enjoying their teenage years at Highland High, I unfortunately am long past those years of my life, and will always enjoy Beavis and Butthead more as a relic of my past than as a new form of entertainment.

And I'm sure current younger generations will also reject Beavis and Butthead because kids are assholes and want their own thing (kidding, sort of :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What October 26-27th Means To Me: Ugh. Halloween.

When you're ten, nothing is cooler than Halloween.  After all, you get to walk around the neighborhood and people willingly give you free candy.  You get to dress up in something silly, its festive, its one of those "all bets are off" holidays.  I remember my buddy Clinton and I used to spend all day and night out on the streets filling up our pillowcases full of candy, we knew exactly which houses would give out the full size candy bars and which would be more likely to give away peanuts, pennies, raisins or something incredibly lame like that (were these people never kids?). How about the people who just left the "take one" bowl?  Fuck those people. Those people suck. Aren't they aware it's Halloween? Are they too fucking lazy to answer the door for an excited kid?  Do they actually think people would take one?  We'd often just take the empty bowl because, after all, it did say "take one" on it.  My hometown was also a sleepy suburb that was basically as old as America.  There was something that felt right about Halloween taking place there.  Leaves were on the ground, it was strangely quiet, but also somewhat spooky. Most families respected the festive nature and dressed their houses in appropriate oranges and blacks.  It was rare to find a house without a jack-o-lantern on the doorstep.  In a word, it was "good."

I was that couch potato one year when I was seven or eight

The magic of Halloween doesn't really change when you're older.  It's still a time to dress up, but instead of walking around begging for candy, you attend some lavish party where all the girls dress as whores.  Sounds amazing, right?

Then why the fuck do I hate Halloween?

No, seriously, I've come to dread it.  If they made a pill that would put me to sleep for Halloween weekend, I'd take it every year.  Wanna know my favorite recent Halloween?  2009.  Why?  Because I was home in bed with the flu. Excuse not to go out=SOLID.  Listen, I like a party as much as the next guy, I mean, who doesn't love looking at a slutty toaster*? I don't mind going out, but there is something about holidays with social expectations that I cannot stand. (*By the way, every conversation with a girl about their Halloween costume goes something like this.  Brett:  "So, Rhonda, what are you being for Halloween?"  Rhonda: "A roll of tape!  Well, a slutty roll of tape (tee hee)" 

Perhaps I'm vain, maybe I care too much about what others think of me, but the idea of not going to a party on either Halloween or New Years makes me feel like a huge loser.  And I hate feeling that way because I'm fully aware I'd probably have a better time sitting home watching movies than going out all night in a costume I paid too much money for.  Also, like last year, I stupidly chose a costume that involved a sleeveless shirt, leaving me ice cold for both parties I decided to go to.  You know whats not fun?  Trying to find a cab in the Hollywood Hills when its about 50 degrees and I'm not wearing much.  Nipples=arrows. 

So, this year, I purposely did not buy a costume.  That's right, I'm skipping Halloween.  I'm gonna find something else to do.  Unless, well, someone invites me to a "cool" party, in which case I'm sure I'll create a quick makeshift costume, feel like less of a loser, check my phone until its time to go home, and proceed in self-hate for the entire evening. 

Sometimes social expectations just fucking blow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Oct 18th-25th Means To Me: Fall Television

Oh, blog, I've been neglecting you so much that when I type "blogspot" into my browser, you are no longer the first suggestion...but anyway...

We are full swing into the TV's fall season, and one of the last and most popular shows to premiere has been AMC's "Walking Dead."  Now, I love a good zombie movie/story, and I'm a big fan of well done post-apocalyptic entertainment.  But my main problem with Walking Dead is that I think it sucks.  Seriously, I've seen every episode and each one involves one goal:  running from zombies.  Seriously, every single episode features some huge scene where a horde of zombies attack, so they must shoot some and run from the others.  Then the next episode? Same thing. A huge scene where a horde of zombies attack, so they must shoot some and run from the others.  And just for good measure, the next episode involves...guess what? Some huge scene where a horde of zombies attack, and to mix it up...they run from them..into the WOODS!  Yet, here I am still watching it even though I don't even know one character's name.  Seriously, not one. 

Anyway, that's not the point of this post.  In many post-apocalyptic shows, there, of course, involves a love triangle between two men and the one woman who happened to survive. Is she hot?  Maybe? Does it matter? Probably not. She's just there. Anyway, Walking Dead features a less than interesting one where, of course, the male characters would love nothing more than to fight over the female in question by giving eachother long disapproving looks while scheming, yes SCHEMING, for her attention.  There might be zombies surrounding them, they might be within inches of death, but My God, all they want is the tender touch of a ladyfriend.  But, since we are in end times and, well, cleanliness isn't exactly priority one...
Might I suggest a shower? 
I'm just saying all that kissing, sexin', and whatever they are doing in those steamy tents, absent any form of shower, sounds like a tornado of nasty odor that would probably kill any romantic moment.  Perhaps during end times you are so hard up that you don't care about awful smells and dirt on your private parts, but I'd personally think that putrid breath and gross pits would probably affect the mood.  I'll buy that animalistic sex might trump these concerns, but tender kisses?  Hmm..  But writers and showrunners don't need to let this opportunity go to waste, and they could mix up their banal plot lines with some stories that revolve around product placement.

Just Sayin...

Most LOST fans remember and cherish the moment  Kate and Sawyer banged in the bear cage during, I dunno, what was it, Season Four?  It was hot, overdue, and memorable. I'm sure many couldn't wait till they could talk about the moment with their friends, and I have no doubt that all of Team Sawyer laughed and gave Team Jack a big Fuck You after it occurred.  It was a huge moment in the series.  But my first reaction was ...

Baby, you stink

I can't be the ONLY one who thinks this.  In fact, I know I'm not because a co-worker complained to me yesterday about how she can't stand how movie characters gladly roll over from a long night's sleep and immediately shove their tongue down their mate's throat. I agree, after I wake up next to someone, its not my goal to put my mouth directly next to their nose.  It's generally to jump out of bed, brush my teeth, so I'm not embarrassed by anything emanating from my mouth. 

But, regardless, I probably should just enjoy shows without worrying too much about the characters' hygiene. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

What October 14th-17th Means To Me: World Peace And Boo

It's no secret that society is moving much faster than the human mind can comprehend.  With each passing day, the internet grows, technology soars, society gets infinitely smaller, and we are trying to solve modern problems with older logic.  This really isn't the fault of humans, we're just not capable of combating complex problems because we simply do not have the capacity to do so.

Though impossible, because the world's population will never get on the same page, it makes sense for the planet to exist under one government, one united economy, and one currency.  This makes sense to me considering we are constantly trading with each other and balancing currencies against one another, but obviously this kind of thought is incredibly difficult due to lack of trust, racism, fear, etc etc etc.  But is it impossible?  Well, nothing is impossible, but it would take a hell of a leader to pull this off.  With so many different cultures and personalities around the world, is there one being that EVERYONE could support and trust?  Obama?  People in our own country are completely divided. I dunno, who else, Sting? Eh, who would take that seriously.  But, thankfully, I do believe there is one possible choice for the role.


Yes, Boo.  The cute shaved Pomeranian that is not only a published author ...

...But also a world uniter.  To wit, check out the popularity and diversity on Boo's Facebook Page:

Well, unfortunately, I can't get that picture any bigger because I'm a computard, but a simple posted pic of Boo netted over 30,000 "likes,"  and over 2,000 shares and comments (his page is liked by over 2 million.)  And, if you can see, the comments flow in from all over the globe.  Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, English, European languages.  They all support Boo.

People easily forget what is important in life, and what our ultimate goals should be.  We tie up happiness in superficial things like money and even sometimes relationships.  But its important to remember that, although we live complex lives, the goal to life should be simple.  To Smile.  To Be happy.  That said, imagine Boo addressing the world, behind a desk, wearing a little suit?  Would he really need to say anything at all?  Can you imagine how many "likes" his speech would get?

Unsure of his leadership skills and want to see Boo debate?  While I'm sure an opponent can wax poetically about economic woes and a bright future, but when the question is tossed to Boo, and he answers it with a yawn, a roll over, and a nap...who wouldn't vote for him?  Even the moderator would probably "aww" and call him a sweet puppy.

I clearly have nothing to talk about today.  But well, we're headed towards the idiocracy anyway, might as well go there in style.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What October 8th-13th Means To Me: TV and Climbing Inside Appliances

I used to watch a shit ton of television.  In fact, before TiVo, I essentially had no life because there was appointment television nearly every night of the week.  Well, I still have no life, but it has nothing to do with my current television schedule.  But much of my childhood was spent in front of the television, in fact, many of my post-school afternoon/evening memories revolve around what was on TV, and all the shows were old 80's sitcoms that took odd chances in the name of being either socially relevant or informative.  The lovely people at Grantland found some of the oddest episodes that yearned to teach some kind of "social lesson," and the list is basically the exact one I'd make.  But there was one episode that I had completely forgotten about that had profound influence over my life as a child. An episode that seeped its way so deep into my subconscious that I still consider it till this day. 

So, hey, Punky Brewster...It's because of you that I had an obsession with climbing inside refrigerators. 
Don't Gloat, Punky

I don't exactly recall how the episode transpired, or who the "victim" was, but I do remember one very special episode of Punky involved a lesson in how a simple game of hide and seek could go horribly wrong.  While Punky and her friends were choosing places to hide, one of them got the bright idea to cram her body into a discarded refrigerator that was left for bulk pick up (or maybe it was just trailer trash, I don't recall).  What I DO recall is that the hiding place was so good that no one found her (even though the kids ran past it 100 times), she subsequently got locked in it, almost suffocated to death, only to be rescued by Punky's Dad (?) after timely CPR was administered.  Now, this should have gone down as a simple lesson learned, but for some reason, from this point forward, the sight of an empty refrigerator tempted me much like a pipe would a crack addict. 

(Side note: I have two other Punky Brewster memories. 1) There was an episode where Punky disappointed her father to such an extent that it caused him to utter the words "Son of a gun, Punky" with such disappointment that I knew I never wanted my parents to say that phrase to me. For this reason, I thought "Son of a gun" was tantamount to "Son of a bitch" for years.  The other memory involved watching the show with my grandmother and, for whatever reason, she asked me if I liked redheaded girls, to which I, of course, replied "EWWWWWWWWWW," though I'm sure I would have had a similar reaction had she asked if I liked girls with blond, brown or green hair because I was 6 and girls were gross at that point in my life. You know, cooties and all. By the way, I do not discriminate hair color these days, I'm lucky enough to find anyone willing to touch me, so at this point you can be bald for all I care as long as I can have some positive and reciprocated attention.  OK, and eeeend scene. Exeunt stage right, thanks for playing.)

Back to climbing into open appliances: 

Come to Momma.  It's OK.  I swear.

I don't know if everyone is like this, but I have this weird obsession with, at least, considering tempting fate when I know the outcome will be negative.  It's why, for years, I'd cautiously approach candle flames with steady fingers.  I have no clue why I did this, the only outcome of such an action is getting burned, there is zero benefit, but I'd find myself doing it anyway.  Also, remember that scene from "A Christmas Story" when the kid licked the frozen pole and his tongue got stuck? (I double dog dare you!!!)  Horrible, right?  Traumatizing for a kid, right? Well, that looked so fun that I tried the same thing with a metal shelf in my parents' freezer and, unfortunately, had similar results.  In fact, I still remember holding the bloody paper towel to the tip of my tongue while wiping away my own dumbass tears as I watched Alf on Hollywood Squares (It's amazing how often Alf pops up during my childhood).  Anyway, the same thing went for refrigerators as, anytime I saw an empty one (plugged in or not), I considered contorting my body so I could get inside it, as if to see if I would have the same fate as Punky's friend.  I remember thinking that it SHOULD be easy to kick myself out of a fridge, since they had no locks, and I wanted to prove to the world that Punky Brewster was portraying inaccuracy.  But instead of going through with the moronic task, I'd instead stare at the open fridge and mull over the consequences and benefits ( ALL THE BENEFITS!), only do to nothing about it.  There was, however, one time where I decided to channel my inner "mythbuster" and figured I'd give it a shot. So, I actually did enter an abandoned fridge only to close the door just enough for air to seep through. I still remember the ambivalence of my thoughts at the moment I brought the door within a centimeter of sealing. I figure it was the same rush the first astronauts felt just before liftoff.  I considered crossing this point of no return, thought maybe I'd show the world that I was a pioneer, but I ultimately chickened out because 1) you know everything on television is true and 2) I didn't want to die. 

Subconsciously, I still think of that episode anytime I see an abandoned fridge, even though I'm probably much too big to fit inside one now.  But the recent article combined with the memory makes me wonder why they don't make shows with amazing lessons like the one Punky taught me years ago.   I think I'd support an episode of NBC's new show "Whitney," in which Whitney locks herself in a fridge, except they don't let her out, she dies, and the show never airs again. 

Wouldn't you? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

What October 6th-7th Means To Me: The Battleground That Is The Public Work Men's Room

Yes, a battleground.  Thunderdome.  It's a place where all bets are off and we're all exposed. 

Don't worry, this is not a post about fart/shit humor or anything like that.  But because of those things, and the shame many feel behind them (even though every single human engages in this activity), the public work men's room is much more than a space with sinks, mirrors, and toilets.  It also is a room that exposes odd insecurities and features bizarre, often embarrassing encounters that only manifest themselves in the tiled room of running water. 

The men's bathroom at my place of business has an unintended feature that always makes for an uncomfortable situation.  The urinals are separated from the entrance by a large partition that completely obscures the view...meaning that you cannot see if anyone is using the urinal upon entering the bathroom.  Now if you're engaging the urinal, it's not uncommon to have someone unknowingly creep behind you while undoing their pants, as if they were a frustrated prisoner. 


Just kidding.  With their fly already down, they quickly cower in embarrassment while the urinal user fumbles over his words in an effort to make the already embarrassing situation disappear.  Then we NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN!  Sadly, this happens all too often.

Which leads me to the subject of shame in the bathroom.  I think the lengths that people go to hide what they are doing in the stall borders on absurd.  Hey, I may not be the brighest star in the sky, but if you're sitting on the toilet, I have a pretty good idea of what you're up to.  I mean, you might be deer hunting, but I doubt it.  So, why do you wait for me to flush the urinal before you do your business? Do you think the sound of the flush really covers up your audible activity?  Do you think I'm gonna look at your shoes, hunt you down later in the day, and give you a number for a good gastroenterologist? Trust me, I don't care. Maybe I'll even throw a fist pump in your honor and scream "oh! good push!"  Listen, I've been on this Earth for 32 years, I'm a veteran in there.  I know what you're up to.  Don't worry about what I think and have fun.

And though I've had much experience in the public men's room, I'm still not sure how to properly handle washing my hands next to someone I know.  When they start a conversation, do I turn to look at them, or do I just view them through the mirror?  A little of both?  I'm cognizant of this every single time it happens.  If I turn my head to look directly at them, and they look at me through the mirror, isn't that a bit odd?  And what is it about the public bathroom sink that brings out the worst in idle chatter.  Seriously, every conversation goes as follows:

Brett: How's it goin?
Sink user:  Not bad for a Monday.
Brett: Yeah, I know right. I'm so tired.  How was your weekend?
Sink user: It was good, you?
Brett: It was good. 
Sink user: 4 more days till Friday!
Brett: Can't wait!
(uncomfortable laughter)

And, of course, it's close cousin:

Brett: how's it goin?
Sink user: Eh, I'm a little tired. Long week.  At least it's friday!
Brett: I know, Thank God right? Sink user: Yeah, seriously!
<fake smile and laugh from both of us>

(I feel like I've discussed this before...well if I did, its worthy of repeat)

The only deviation from those conversations are either ones about work or the weather.  But since the weather in LA is basically the same every day, that subject is especially boring.  But if it occurs on a day where it's actually raining...the excitement is almost too much to handle.

So yeah, I think there needs to be some public discourse about the bathroom so we can all feel more comfortable in there and less embarrassed.  Perhaps the government can create some sort of holiday where we discuss it, so we can officially put this shame behind us and enter the bathroom with confidence. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What October 1st-5th Means To Me: Fear of Failure

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog lately, though I've been busy, so I suppose I have a reason.  Its funny how paralyzed I can become when I'm thrown out of my daily routine.  Sometimes, instead of being productive or creative, I'd prefer to sit in front of my computer or television screen and do nothing as if all my problems, goals, and things-to-do are like a dog waiting to shit on the carpet.  If I do nothing but watch them from a distance, then nothing bad can happen, but if I engage in an activity that requires more than five minutes of effort, I might be misusing my time and, therefore, the world might end.  So, to avoid all that, I just sit and worry and, essentially, twiddle my thumbs.  Does this make sense?  Of course not.  But this is what I do. 

It's strange how much fear can overwhelm you to the point of paralysis.  I think fear was the major obstacle that hindered me as a writer when I first started to take it seriously as a possible career choice.  Even if I had great ideas and clever scenes in my head, I found myself procrastinating while simoltenously reassuring myself that it would be "genius" when I finally had time to write it down.  I finally realized that the reason I put it off for so long was because I was terrified it would never look as good on paper as it did in my head.  And as long as it existed as some nebulous possibility in the future, I was somewhat content (and, at first draft, its never as good as it is in your head...actually, probably final draft too).  So, I gladly put it off even if it was somewhat frustrating at the same time. 

The funny thing is I'm still not sure what I was (am) afraid of.  Sure, fear of failure is obvious, but what really does the failure lead to?  Homelessness?  I doubt it.  Loss of friendship?  Really doubt it. Impotence (maybe!) Are we afraid others will see us differently if we fail?  In my experience, people are entirely too self involved to care about someone else's failure unless that failure somehow effects them.  So, really, what the hell is there to fear?

But even though I'm aware that most of my fears are unfounded, it doesn't stop them from effecting me.  I suppose its always a process.